your paddlesports destination

Lake Norman in North Carolina

Trip Overview

We spent a pleasant Sunday morning paddling on a very quiet section of Lake Norman (Catawba River), just 12 miles north of Charlotte, NC on the Davidson Kayak Trail.

Interstate 77 bisects Lake Norman; this paddling area is in the eastern part of the lake and has mostly pontoon boats and is separated from the larger Lake Norman. Great for novice paddlers, and convenient to Charlotte. Flat water, few power boats.

The larger Lake Norman has lots of fast boats and jet skis but on this trip we didn't encounter any motor boats. We saw a few "power boats" tied up in front of homes, but mostly pontoon boats. We didn't see any public marinas and it appears this may be the only public access to this segment of the lake.

Consider exploring the island in the center of the lake, owned by Duke Energy, day use of the island is permitted.


We were grateful for our little stern wheeled kayak cart to get our Pungo's and gear down to the launch area. Perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 mile on a new well maintained gravel trail. Easy going with the cart, but would have been a strain if we were hand carrying the boats and gear. Several nice benches to rest. The launch area has kayak storage racks and quite a few boats were stored there. Nice picnic tables at the launch site. No rest rooms or latrines. Launch area is very easy and flat. The trail continues around a little peninsula and we saw folks with dogs and families out for a walk. Would be good kayak area for novices and children. Cove launch area provides sheltered practice area.


None that we could determine.


I-77 take exit 30 (Davidson College)and turn east onto Griffith Street at the end of the ramp. At the second round about you see Davidson Day School, turn left onto Jetton Street. The entrance to the kayak trail is just past the athletic fields. Parking on the street seems adequate.


Google maps shows the lake area well enough.

The area is larger than we first thought with coves going further north than we had realized.

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip